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« | Home | »

NYE storylines: Who retires first after a loss, Fedor or Lesnar?

By Zach Arnold | December 27, 2011

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So, our friends at FightHub.tv posted this video with one fighter saying that Alistair Overeem will get exposed like Bob Sapp did. I remember the moment Sapp got ‘exposed’ and that was in March of 2003 at Saitama Super Arena. Sapp had been pushed to the moon by Kazuyoshi Ishii as his big pet project — so much so that Ishii himself was a special guest referee for one of Sapp’s fights. Mirko Cro Cop was the man who shattered the image of Bob Sapp and shattered his eye socket, too. People made fun of Sapp for turtling up and screaming but I don’t blame him. Mirko 2003 was something fierce and soon we would end up seeing Mirko vs. Fedor, a program that will always age well because of just how great that fight was promoted.

Will Alistair fold up like Bob Sapp did? Who knows. Fabricio Werdum was able to tag him pretty well and Brock Lesnar’s got a powerful punch. He’s also got terrible striking defense and Alistair is great at what he does. We know what the stakes are for this fight — winner gets Junior dos Santos. But what about the loser? If Alistair loses, he’ll still be fighting because that’s what does and it is in his DNA. If Brock wins, he has the table set up to make a ton of cash in easy fashion. Cash is king and so is not having to slave labor to make it. He loves to train all the times anyways, so getting paid millions of dollars to keep training is great if you can get it.

Overeem is a -140 favorite heading into the fight. For a prop bet, you can get +400 odds if you think Alistair will win by submission.

But what if Brock loses? Sure, there are some sporadic fights left for him (against Nogueira, against Mir… again). However, will he have any desire left to hit the comeback trail? Brock often likes to move onto different challenges when he thinks he’s plateaued or has just gotten plain old bored. He did that with WWE, he did that when he tried out for the Minnesota Vikings, and he pulled that routine as well when he was given everything on a silver platter by Antonio Inoki and New Japan. He won the IWGP belt in a 3-way match over Masa Chono & Kazuyuki Fujita in maybe the worst-ever attended Tokyo Dome show (a feat that may be eclipsed by the upcoming 1/4 Tokyo Dome show headlined by Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki), was given what he wanted in terms of last-second travel itinery, booked in the same formulaic title matches, and then… he just quit. He didn’t even bother losing the title belt.

So, yeah, Brock has a proclivity of shutting down when he decides enough is a enough, no matter how logical or illogical it is. Given that he is currently UFC’s #1 PPV drawing attraction by a country mile, losing him would be a big blow for Zuffa. The company still relies on PPV sales so heavily to finance everything else. With Georges St. Pierre on the sidelines, Lesnar’s value over everyone else is exponentially important. Jon Jones is starting to develop a following but it’s only maybe half of what a typical Lesnar fight can bring in at the box office.

The other big NYE fight is Fedor vs. Satoshi Ishii. The Inoki card at Saitama Super Arena has tons of fights on it (both wrestling and MMA), but for all intents & purposes this is a one-fight card in terms of how it has been promoted. Most of the value goes to Fedor, believe it or not, as Ishii has really been kept away from the press sans a couple of interviews with outfits like Nikkan Sports newspaper. Shinya Aoki has been doing the media rounds with Antonio Inoki, which has been quite the visual to see. In his Nikkan Sports interview, Ishii said that he views himself in ‘desperation mode’ right now and that he’s come to accept him as a Mixed Martial Artist… although very few people are sure of what he really wants in life mainly because he has no clue himself. He’s been training at Reign (Mark Munoz’s gym) with Ed Buckley, the Muay Thai coach of Team Quest. Everyone who has ever been in the gym with Ishii (like our friend the Hawaiian princess) will tell you that he’s always in beast mode and yet when it comes to fight time he’s OK but not overly dominating.

If Ishii beats Fedor on NYE, I’m not sure where it leads him as far as his career. His career is still managed by Inoki forces and yet he has wanted to fight in UFC. I’m still doubtful we will ever see him with Zuffa given how much Inoki wants to maintain his power. I suppose Ishii will continue getting booked on DREAM cards or maybe even a spot on a One FC card in Singapore. If Ishii loses to Fedor, few people will be shocked and the experiment will probably combust if the fan reaction gets pretty ugly fast. At that point, Ishii’s only hope to salvage his career would be to make a U-turn into pro-wrestling.

If Fedor loses to Ishii, is this the end for him? The fight scene in Japan is not getting any healthier. Sooner or later, M-1 is going to run out of money marks to pay them to book Fedor. Where do you go then? Would Fedor even care about fighting if he lost to Ishii? If he beats Ishii, at least he can plausibly continue to fight on and just hang around for a few more paychecks. But if he loses, it’s entirely possible that he could announce his retirement after the fight.

So, which fighter in your estimation is more likely to retire after a loss this weekend, Fedor or Brock?

Topics: DREAM, Japan, M-1, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 23 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

23 Responses to “NYE storylines: Who retires first after a loss, Fedor or Lesnar?”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    I have both Lesnar & Fedor winning.

    But if they both lost, Lesnar would be the first to retire.

    Fedor is going to fight a lot longer. M-1 will suck every dollar out of him, whether he wants to fight or not.

  2. Steve4192 says:

    “Brock often likes to move onto different challenges when he thinks he’s plateaued or has just gotten plain old bored”

    Brock has been training/fighting MMA for five years now. Isn’t it about time to retire this fallacy?

    Why can’t we just take the guy at his word and accept that his earlier jobs were just him searching for his niche in life? He freely admits he did pro wrestling for the money and that he hated the lifestyle (travel, drugs, lack of competition). He freely admits that he wanted no part of playing in NFL Europe for pocket change while being separated from his family for months at a time. He claims that in MMA he has finally found his niche in life and that he has no intentions of quitting anytime soon. Lesnar loves the fact that MMA allows him a competitive outlet without taking him away from his family. What other job would pay him millions while allowing him to stay at home for all but a couple of weeks a year?

    I think it’s time to accept that Lesnar is in it for the long haul. MMA pundits ruminate on his potential retirement every time he hits a bump in the road, and it is starting to sound like boy who cried wolf. He didn’t retire after losing to Mir, he didn’t retire after missing a year due to diverticulitis, he didn’t retire after taking a beating from Shane Carwin, he didn’t retire after a relapse of his medical condition, and he didn’t retire after absorbing another ass-whooping at the hands of Cain Velasquez.

    How many times do people have to be wrong about Lesnar retiring before they re-evaluate their preconceived notions about the guy?

  3. Steve4192 says:

    “But what if Brock loses? Sure, there are some sporadic fights left for him “

    Some sporadic fights?

    IMO, Lesnar has more potential fights than any other HW in the division due to his lack of experience. Unlike the other fighters, he has faced very few opponents. Alistair will only be his fourth opponent who is still active in the UFC HW division, and he still has interesting rematch possibilities with the three guys he has already faced. There are tons of fights left for him, especially with all the Strikeforce guys coming over.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      How many times do people have to be wrong about Lesnar retiring before they re-evaluate their preconceived notions about the guy?

      A leopard like him doesn’t change his spots. His track record over a decade gives us plenty to study.

      IMO, Lesnar has more potential fights than any other HW in the division due to his lack of experience. Unlike the other fighters, he has faced very few opponents. Alistair will only be his fourth opponent who is still active in the UFC HW division, and he still has interesting rematch possibilities with the three guys he has already faced. There are tons of fights left for him, especially with all the Strikeforce guys coming over.

      Luca Fury made the same points… and then promptly agreed with me that Brock’s likely to retire rather than continue if he doesn’t think he can be a serious title contender.

      • Dave says:

        Seriously, Brock has made his money, what does he care?

        • Steve4192 says:

          “Seriously, Brock has made his money, what does he care?”

          1. He wants to KEEP making money. Just because a guy is financially well off does not mean he suddenly loses the desire to earn a living. Where else can Brock earn millions while never leaving his home?

          2. He wants to compete. Brock is an insanely competitive human being. He craves and enjoys competition. Where else can he compete against other insanely competitive human beings?

          3. He enjoys training. Brock is a gym rat. What other job would allow him to train full-time without interfering with his family life?

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          What Steve says. No one has any clue what Lesnar does with his money. For all anyone knows, he invested heavily in satellite phones or a start up space company or something.

      • Steve4192 says:

        “A leopard like him doesn’t change his spots. His track record over a decade gives us plenty to study.”

        There is no decade-long track record. There is a track record from 2004-2006. Prior to 2004, he had no history of quitting anything. After 2006, he has no history of quitting anything. You are basing your entire theory on a three year period of upheaval in his life. He quit his first post-collegiate job and took a while to find his niche in life. That kind of thing can happen to anyone.

        Also, there is one common theme that links all of the things Lesnar eventually quit … his family. The WWE kept him on the road and away from his family. New Japan required him to be away from his family. NFL Europe would have required him to be away from his family. There is no downside for MMA as it relates to his family. Lesnar can stay at home and live like a hermit for 11 months a year, doing nothing but hunting, training, and getting on top of his wife. He just has to venture out a couple of times a year to go fight. It’s the perfet job for him.

      • Steve4192 says:

        “Brock’s likely to retire rather than continue if he doesn’t think he can be a serious title contender.”

        I agree that is a possibility, but I think it is a bit presumptuous to assume it is a foregone conclusion. Brock might retire, or he might choose to take Zuffa’s money as long as they are willing to back up the Brink’s truck to his front door. Regardless, none of that changes the fact that there are lots of potential fights out there for him. The only question is will he take those fights. He may, or he may not. Nobody knows for sure.

  4. Chris says:

    I’ve heard Dave Meltzer say more than once, that Lesnar is pretty stable financially. If that’s the case, then I say he retires with a loss to Overeem.

    • Jonathan Snowden says:

      Dave said the same things about Ric Flair, things we now know aren’t true. Someone else’s finances are not really something you can “report.” At best, someone tells you it’s true. At worst, it’s a calculated lie.

      • edub says:

        “Dave said the same things about Ric Flair, things we now know aren’t true.”

        Hell of an understatement right there.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “If that’s the case, then I say he retires with a loss to Overeem”

      People said the same thing before his first fight with Mir, after his initial bout with diverticulitis, before his fight with Cain, and after his medical issues cropped up again. Yet the guy is still here, and has shown no indication he intends to retire anytime soon.

  5. edub says:

    If Brock gets blown out of the building I could see him packing up shop, although I don’t think he will (get blown out or retire).

    Fedor will keep fighting on, which is insane to think about because he always talked of only fighting for the competition and he never really loved it.

    Fedor’s career arc remind anybody else of RJJ?

  6. Zheroen says:

    I like how people are still holding onto the the idea that Brock is still a prospect with potential. He’s 35, nearly the same age as Fedor, and has experience a major, potentially career-threatening health issue. His ceiling isn’t going to get much higher, and you can’t magically develop a chin or heart from out of nowhere. The fight with Overeem is essentially a gauge of how good he’ll ever be. If he loses, that’s pretty much it in regards to looking at him as the future of the Heavyweight division.

    • Steve4192 says:

      Brock’s chin is fine. We have never seen him KOed, and he has taken some brutal shots in his short career. His heart is fine too. Just look at how he hung in there when Carwin was going to town on him.

      Brock’s problem is that he has mind-numbingly awful reactions to eating a clean shot. It’s not like he can’t take a punch, or that he up and quits whenever things go bad, he just freaks out sometimes when he gets hit clean. Some guys just don’t react well to getting hit. Lesnar is one of them.

      • Zheroen says:

        I wouldn’t necessarily define chin in absolute terms as to whether or not one can avoid being knocked out – I see it more as whether they can keep from getting knocked down after taking a hard shot. Brock has hit the ground against the only notable strikers he’s faced. And I would classify the ability to take a solid punch without freaking out as a component of heart. Sure, he didn’t quit against a gassed Carwin, but he wasn’t exactly Don Frye in the first fight against Mir, either. He’s the classic example of being able to dish it out, but not take it.

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        We haven’t seen him KOed? He was KOed in his last fight. You might as well be arguing that Wladimir Klitschko isn’t chinny because he always gets up after being knocked down.

        • edub says:

          I’d agree, but not with the comparison. It seems like every time the younger brother gets hit clean he’s wobbled.

          He just never gets hit much anymore.

  7. Mark says:

    Lesnar isn’t a fighter whose longevity depends on wins and losses. His fans are mostly fans of his, not unlike Kimbo or Sakuraba, so they will still buy shows to see him fight.

    Fedor will take paydays until 40 more than likely. M-1 will give him the cans of can legend if worse came to worse. Even do a Tyson-like “public exhibition” deal if needed.

  8. anony says:

    Overeem deserves more respect than this. Brock is the Bob Sapp of our time and he got exposed by Carwin.

    ‘Reem is a vet who has won a lot of titles and accolades regardless.

    Nobody is going to hit him harder than Badr Hari did.

    Stupid.

  9. [...] Fight Opinion ruminates on Who Retires First After a Loss, Fedor or Lesnar? [...]

  10. [...] for the answer to the question I posed earlier in the week about who would retire first (Fedor or Lesnar), we now have our answer. Before his fight with [...]

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